Amnesty organizes a worldwide solidarity day for Turkish HR defender Eser on her birthday

Amnesty International (AI) has organised a worldwide solidarity day for Turkish human rights activist İdil Eser, director of Amnesty Turkey on her birthday on Saturday while 23 artists including Ben Stiller, Mark Ruffalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Zoë Kravitz and Zach Galifianakis have shown support for the rights advocates who were jailed since July 5, 2017.

It has been stated in a statement in Amnesty’s website that “Our colleague İdil has been wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey, but that won’t stop us giving her a birthday to remember. It should have been an ordinary day for İdil Eser, director of Amnesty Turkey. She was attending a meeting with colleagues in İstanbul on July 5, 2017, when the police raided the building and arrested them.

“Neither İdil or her colleagues have done anything wrong: and yet Turkey has jailed them, just like they have jailed hundreds of journalists, fuelling the propaganda that human rights defenders are somehow dangerous and must be stopped.

“Idil is not a criminal – she is a human rights defender, who now faces the absurd charge of ‘aiding a terrorist organisation’ and risks up to 15 years in prison. She is alone in jail, on the basis of ridiculous accusations, instead of spending it with friends and family.

“We won’t stop until İdil is free. We won’t stop until they’re all free. Join our call to release the human rights defenders – we will make sure your voice is heard when it’s needed most, and let Turkey know the world is watching.”

On Friday, the co-rapporteurs of the the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Turkey Marianne Mikko (Estonia, SOC) and Nigel Evans (United Kingdom, EC) have reacted to the publication of the indictment against human rights activists in Turkey.

“We are appalled by the indictment of prominent human rights defenders, including the President and the Director of Amnesty International Turkey and members of several other NGOs, who are prosecuted on terror charges and face up to 15 years of prison. We ask the Turkish authorities to drop these charges and reiterate our call to release them.”

In July 2017, the PACE co-rapporteurs issued a statement condemning the arrest of 10 human rights defenders who attended a training workshop in July 2017 in Büyükada, Istanbul.

Meanwhile, according to a report by Bianet, 23 artists including Ben Stiller, Mark Ruffalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Zoë Kravitz and Zach Galifianakis have shown support for the rights advocates detained during a training workshop on July 5, 2017 in Büyükada, who were later arrested and have been behind bars for 102 days.

The artists showed their support by signing a letter written by Amnesty International US Bureau in support of the rights advocates and addressed to Serdar Kılıç, Turkey’s Ambassador to the US.

The artists who have signed the support letter are: Zoë Kravitz, Nazanin Boniadi, Don Cheadle, Marisa Tomei, Adam McKay, Paul Haggis, Joshua Malina, Fisher Stevens, Claire Danes, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Farrell, Eva Orner, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Roth, Kathy Najimy, Mark Ruffalo, Zach Galifianakis, Bruce Cohen, Shira Piven, Mike White, Tim Kring and James McAvoy.

Earlier, artists like Peter Gabriel, Juliette Binoche, Jane Birkin, Angélique Kidjo, Annie Lennox and Bono had signed a support letter issued on the French newspaper Libération and called for the release of the rights defenders.

Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday called on the Turkish government for the immediate and unconditional release of 11 prominent human rights defenders, including its Turkey director İdil Eser, who has been in pretrial detention for 102 days on terrorism charges.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe director, said: “One hundred days ago our colleagues were locked up for standing up for human rights. Every passing day further exposes the long reach of the post-coup crackdown and the deep flaws in Turkey’s justice system.”

On Oct. 4 a prosecutor filed an indictment calling for jail terms of up to 15 years for all 11 human rights defenders.

AI also announced that its activists in over 25 countries would hold more than 200 parties and stunts to mark Eser‘s birthday. These will range from a birthday party in the European Parliament to a press conference in a makeshift prison in Madrid. Full-size paper cutouts of Eser will be present at these activities to highlight her absence.

The press release also said that together with Amnesty International Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri will host a birthday party for İdil Eser in the European Parliament from 19:30-21:30 on Oct. 17. A protest will also be held outside the Turkish Embassy at 10:30 on the 100 day “anniversary” – Oct. 12.

Charges against 10 of the Amnesty International-related human rights activists were reported to include “membership in a terrorist organization.” Charges of “terrorism,” “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” have been increasingly employed by the Turkish government as a means of silencing the opposition and dissidents.

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